I have some family friends coming to visit mid-October and I'd love to take them apple picking. Are there any pick-your-own orchards within a day's drive that use organic methods? G.M., Cambridge
Growing organic apples in the Northeast is not an easy task, due in part to the weather and some native pests. A few New England orchards have met the challenges. Old Frog Pond Farm (978-456-9616, oldfrogpondfarm.com) in Harvard is a 25-acre certified organic farm that raises chickens and grows raspberries in addition to apples. The McIntosh and Cortlands are gone, but you can still take home some Green Crisp, Red Delicious, and Blushing Gold. If you don't mind taking a scenic, three-plus-hour drive north, head to Shelburne, Vt., home of Shelburne Orchards (802-985-2753, shelburneorchards.com). Just south of Burlington, this family-run farm grows over 20 varieties of apples on 80 acres, 10 of which are strictly organic. For the other 70, instead of blanket spraying, the owners use a low-spray technique that targets problem areas. Try to get there on or before Oct. 20 when the orchard holds its annual Truckload Saturday, when for $50 you can fill up your entire truck with whatever apples remain.
Got a travel-related question? Send it to Hillary Geronemus, travel editor at Body + Soul magazine, at firstname.lastname@example.org.